Dentist on a mission
By NATASHA BECKLES | Sun, November 04, 2012 - 12:01 AM
DR LOIS APPLEWHITE is on a mission to cater to the physical and spiritual needs of disadvantaged people.
And come January, she hopes to participate in a medical discipleship training programme at Youth With A Mission’s University of Nations in Kona, Hawaii.
As she explained to the SUNDAY SUN, the University of Nations is a “medical mission school” which trains young people to combine their professional skills with their love for God to reach out to people who are disadvantaged.
Although the 25-year-old dentist always felt a strong desire to help others, her decision to join the programme at this stage resulted from her unexpected failure of a critical exam.
Her younger sister Laura, who has been affiliated with Youth With A Mission for the past two to three years.
“She actually did the discipleship training school at the Youth With A Mission here in Barbados, and then after she finished that she stayed on as staff for about a year and a half,” she explained.
Laura travelled to Hawaii for a conference soon after the medical school had been established and she strongly recommended that Lois participate.
Although the former Queen’s College student’s interest was piqued, she was still a dental student at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus and didn’t have the time to participate.
Upon her return to Barbados, the valedictorian-elect was surprisingly unsuccessful in the local dental council exam.
“I was really depressed after that. That was compounded by some personal issues I was going through at the same time, and I just didn’t know what I was going to do for the next six months because they [offer] the exam every six months,” she said.
While Lois was “depressed in bed all the time”, Laura looked on the brighter side and reminded her sibling that she now had the time to participate in the discipleship programme.
“I heard her but at the same time I pushed it in the back of my mind, because I just wanted to wallow in my depression and I really didn’t care.
“But after she left the room I just felt this urge . . . . I went on the website and everything just happened from there.”
The programme begins on January 3 and consists of three months of instruction and two months of outreach.
“In the outreach, because it’s specifically for medical professionals, we’re not just going to be going out and bombarding people with the Word of God but we will be meeting their health needs.
“It’s not going to be in an ideal setting like a medical or dental office but from what I gather, it will be just like a mobile clinic. You just reach out to the poor people who wouldn’t be able to access these things.”
Although Lois does not yet know which countries will be included in the outreach, she said the recently concluded training school travelled to Haiti, China and the Philippines.
The Barbados Exhibition winner admitted she has some concerns about the trip although she believes strongly that God will meet her needs.
“I guess it depends on which country you’re going to, but basically the general trend is that there is going to be a lot of poverty around.
“I’m going to be out of my comfort zone in terms of bathroom facilities and food, living conditions . . . . I’m not sure what I will experience so that is something that I’m kind of nervous about,” she said.
Lois is also concerned about how she will able to impact people spiritually.
“I know I will make a difference in terms of physical needs but I just want to know that at the end of the day, I’ve achieved what I want to achieve in terms of helping people to understand that there is a God who loves them and who still cares.”
The member of the Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church noted that she always felt there was something more for Christians to do than “just sit down in church and grow for themselves when there are other people out there who are suffering”.
To pursue her dream, the young Christian is in the process of raising at least $18 000 to cover the entire programme.
She has already enlisted the help of her family and friends and soon she will be targeting businesses, churches and individuals.
• Positive Youth is a series highlighting the efforts of some of the youth in our nation who are engaging in positive pursuits. If you know of any such people, please contact Natasha Beckles at 430-5459 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Bryan Walker at 430-5492 or email@example.com
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